On Saturday 17th September, members of the community held a service at the Quaker Meeting House to mark the transition from the Liverpool City Centre Methodist Circuit to the newly formed “Emmaus” Circuit of the Liverpool Methodist District.
Here is a little of what was said at that service.
Jeremiah 29: 11-14
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
"Same loaf, new wrapper"
For those of us gathered here today, on the weekend eve of the funeral of Her Majesty the Queen, we bring to mind that, just like our country at the moment, we have always been a church in transition. With no “regular” congregation, no traditional worship pattern, always being church with whoever is there on the day, has been a hallmark of God’s calling to this small, fragile, missional yet vulnerable community.
So many people have passed through our doors over the years – as Barbara used to say a revolving door ministry, being an Oasis not a Sheep Pen. Many no longer with us, having moved on. We have seen many prospective and discerning ministers and deacons come to us to experience “church in a different way” – and I guess if you ask them they would say that the experience broadened their outlook and enabled them to see beyond the pew.
Anyone who was privileged enough to meet the late, and wonderful, Steve Allen could not fail to understand what our amazing church meant to those who were searching for God’s truth and love in their lives.
Like Steve, we are all on a journey, and we are carrying a lot in our saddlebags (for those who were at Steve’s funeral you may recall that Steve’s football team was Walsall and their nickname is “the saddlers”)…. Our saddlebags are full of precious gifts: the 6 ingredients of our bread – as well as experience, love, wonder, compassion, honesty and hope…and yet for some time now we have come to this new Circuit with some anxiety and trepidation as to what it will mean for the bread-makers of Bold Street.
But we have been reassured that, as Jeremiah discovered, God has a plan - a plan to give us hope and a future. Our recipe may stay the same, it may vary – our community will always be fluid but at its heart we will be Somewhere Else – L.O.A.F. – Living Out a Faith…Feeding Body and Soul – it is just that we will have the support of a new Circuit, a new group of people who will offer their time and support, their love and their faith to help us continue to find the lonely, the lost, the searching and the vulnerable in this City. For God has a plan – and we must put that plan into our bread. Just as we drizzle the oil into our initial, drawn in the flour, so we must pour God, through Emmaus, into all that we do to offer the Good News of Christ to all that we know, all that we meet and all that we are yet to discover in the City Centre.